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Man Utd target Rice signs new West Ham deal

4:40 am AEDT 29/12/18
Declan Rice
The teenager has ended speculation about a move to Old Trafford by committing his future to the Hammers

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League club.

Rice's deal was set to expire in 2020, but the club announced on Friday he has agreed a new long-term contract, which includes the option for a further year.

The deal seemingly ends speculation linking Rice with a move to Manchester United, while the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham had also been linked with a move for the midfielder.

The 19-year-old has become increasingly influential for the Hammers this season, starting 16 Premier League games under new boss Manuel Pellegrini.

And the versatile teenager, who can operate either in midfield or defence, is thrilled to be staying at West Ham.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have got the contract done, signed and to commit my future to the club until 2024. I'm absolutely ecstatic," he told the club's website.

"Without a doubt, the plan was always to stay at West Ham. I've had the support from the fans, from the players and from the manager and now, to get it done and commit myself to this club is a very special moment and I'm over the moon.

"I've now played 50 games for the first team and I'm progressing week in, week out, learning from a top manager and top players. I'm still young, so to put more years on my contract and keep developing here is the best thing for me to do now. With the support of the manager, the players, everyone, it was the right thing to do."

London-born Rice has made appearances in friendlies for Republic of Ireland at senior level, but is yet to declare his international future, with England his other option.

But the teenager is focused on helping West Ham, who have won five of their last six Premier League matches, push for European qualification.

"Without a doubt, you've seen now the way we've played after the first four games, that's what we've got to be aiming for, for those European spots," Rice added. "With the players we've got out injured to come back in, we've definitely got to be aiming high.

"We've got 60,000 fans now, with that being increased, we've got a top manager who has won a Premier League title and quality players in the squad, so there is no reason why we can't be competing at the top, for sure."